You can use a variety of methods to overcome a phobia. Keep in mind that a healthy dose of fear is a good thing. Fear prevents us from being reckless and keeps us safe. Sometimes, our fear mechanism can misfire. We can become overly afraid of things, which turns into a phobia. According to Harvard Health, a phobia is a persistent and unrealistic fear. A phobia is considered a type of anxiety disorder.
Say Goodbye to Phobias
If you struggle with a phobia, the following tips can help you overcome your irrational fears.
Phone a Friend
There’s something about having someone with you that makes scary movies a little less frightening. The same goes for phobias. For example, if you have a fear of heights, you can have a friend stand with you on a balcony. Little by little, your friend can move away from you while you stay in the same place. Eventually, you’ll be standing on the balcony alone.
Biofeedback for Your Phobia
Biofeedback lets you view your vital signs and physical information (your heart rate, breathing, muscle tension, etc.). By monitoring your own reactions to stress, you can learn to control your physical responses. By becoming more aware of your body, you can manage your fear by keeping your body calm.
Find Some Support
Support groups not only provide closeness and friendship, but they can also be a resource. You can bounce ideas off of each other regarding how to better handle your phobia. Also, being near like-minded people can make you feel less anxious. The team spirit allows you to bond with others and feel relaxed.
Gradually exposing yourself to what you’re afraid of is called desensitization. Bit by bit, you slowly expose yourself to the object of your fear until you don’t feel any distress. By pushing yourself a little further each time, you build up tolerance to what you feel. For instance, if you’re afraid of the dark you can start with a light dimmer. Each night, you dim the light until you start feeling anxious. You can remain at that level until you start to feel comfortable. Every night the light is dimmed until you can finally withstand the dark.
Climb the Fear Ladder
The fear ladder allows you to take the time to overcome your phobia. Instead of directly exposing yourself to your phobia, you work up to it. For example, to overcome a fear of spiders, you can start by looking at photos of spiders. You consistently make an effort to stare at spider photos until you don’t feel afraid anymore. After that, you can move on to videos of spiders. Once you become comfortable with videos, you can move on to small replicas of spiders, and so on. Eventually, you work your way up to tolerating real, live spiders. The fear ladder takes a lot of time. However, the it can be effective for severe phobias.
Use the Flooding Technique
The flooding technique isn’t for everyone, but it helps if you need to get over a phobia in a hurry. The flooding technique calls for you to face your fear head-on by repeatedly exposing yourself to it. Instead of a gradual exposure, this method calls for you to consistently engage yourself in your phobia repeatedly. Eventually, your mind will see that there is no danger.
Take Some Medication
For very severe phobias, medication can help overcome anxiety. There are a number of drugs that help treat phobias by reducing anxious feelings and sedating the body. If non-medicated options aren’t effective, medication can be an effective last resort.
Overcome a Phobia with Hypnosis
Sometimes, it takes thinking outside the box in order to control your fears. Research into hypnosis has shown it to be an effective way to manage phobias. Far from what you see in the movies, hypnosis isn’t about swinging pocket watches. Hypnosis for phobias typically occurs with a certified hypnotherapist. Hypnosis happens when a client is placed in a very relaxed state. In this state, the mind is very open to suggestions and programming. This allows a hypnotherapist to change the way a person reacts to a phobia. Eli Bliliuos from the NYC Hypnosis Center says, “Very often, fears come from the subconscious”. And the best way to overcome a phobia may be to get at the root of where it starts”.
Past experiences may be to blame for your irrational fear. These experiences can be revealed in hypnotic trance. More importantly, they can be reevaluated unconsciously so that they do not trigger the flight or fight response. At a high level, the mind let’s go of the past and responds appropriately. Whether it’s a fear of flying, public speaking, or social anxiety, hypnotherapy is a fast and effective way to eliminate phobias.